It's not something you see much if ever in track and field -- the hero carried aloft upon teammates' shoulders.
Addison Trail's Phil Partipilo enjoyed the ride, much as his teammates cheered Partipilo's straightaway surge to overtake Downers Grove South and claim, by two-hundredths of a second, the 1,600-meter relay title on the final event of Saturday's West Suburban Gold Boys Indoor Championships in Addison.
"I've been anchor in the past, but this is, like, the first real big meet that I've been anchor, and I can't thank my coach (Bruce Kelsay) enough to put me in that position," said Partipilo, who clinched the victory for leadoff man Francisco Castelan and middlemen Jose Martinez and Joe Atria.
Addison Trail's 51 points placed a distant fifth in its bright, new field house behind champion Morton, whose 144 points edged defending champion Downers South's 142. Hinsdale South (83) placed third and Leyden (54) fourth, with Proviso East (27) and Willowbrook (23) trailing Addison Trail.
Still, the Blazers' meet-capping victory and other solid outings lent momentum as teams start heading outdoors.
Castelan was seeded sixth in the 400-meter dash.
"I didn't think I had a shot," he said -- but he won the event ahead of Hinsdale South's Joe Gangichiodo and Partipilo.
"I came off that lane six, came off pretty fast," said Castelan, who with Partipilo, Alex Glowacki and Pat Prasak flew to second in the four-lap relay. "I saw I was still in the pack and with one lap left to go I always kick it. I just started taking it away."
Along with multiple-event winner Omar Lopez of Morton, there's lots of speed in the Gold. State-qualifying sprinter Jon Aldrin shook off a poor start in his 55 dash prelim to win the finals with "one of the best starts I've ever had," he said.
Later Aldrin faced familiar foes Tavaris Binion and D.J. King of Hinsdale South in the 200. This time Binion got the upper hand. First he praised Aldrin, then King, who took second in a bang-bang finish.
"My key was just really hit those curves," said Binion, who with King, Demario Gordon and Gangichiodo won the four-lap relay. "And D.J., he is under the radar. He has a lot of potential in him. Being in practice with him every day, it's truly an honor. It makes me so much better."
The 160-meter track's turns were not a friend to Willowbrook's Craig Benner, who sought a 53-second 400 but got a 55.30 instead. He'll put on his spikes, head outside and use it as a learning tool.
"Exactly," Benner said.
Turns mess with the distance guys only a bit. Before signing to University of Illinois-Chicago later that afternoon, Willowbrook's Pat Niyork dusted Downers South's Nick Kirk in the 3,200. A couple hours later Kirk looked refreshed in the 1,600 and repaid the favor.
Running seventh of eight at one point, Kirk passed the field to "redeem myself," he said.
"I'm definitely looking forward to outdoor," said the senior. "It should be a really great season."